Venom based neural modulators (review)
- Jiao Chen
- Xiao-Ming Liu
- Yuan Zhang
Published online on: November 10, 2017
Copyright: © Chen et al.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution License.
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Different types of neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are expected to occur in vivo, most structure-activity relationship studies have been carried out for just a few neuronal subtypes. The present review enlightens current aspects of venom modulators of nAChRs. Important electronic databases such as PubMed or Google scholar were explored for the collection of latest studies in the field. Clinical and basic research has shown that cholinergic receptors play a role in several disorders of the nervous system such as chronic pain, Alzheimer's disease and addiction to nicotine, alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, the lack of selective modulators for each subtype of nAChR makes their pharmacological characterization difficult, which has slowed the development of therapeutic nAChR modulators with high selectivity and absence of off-target side-effects. Animal venoms have proven to be an excellent natural source of bioactive molecules with activity against ion channels. The present review concludes that the presence of small-molecule nAChR modulators in spider venoms support the use of venoms as a potential source of novel modulators.